3 weeks ago…
“How is it that we both thought things would turn out the same way, and yet they didn’t?”
“It’s all the way it’s supposed to be. You know that, right?”
“Yes. But still…”
He looks at me, his eyelids heavy with sleep and sorrow, wiggling his mouth the way he does when he is considering something. He lifts my hair from where it has fallen into my eye, brushing the long strand up and over my shoulder. He has taken great pains to not touch my skin. And I want him to. God, I want him to so badly.
But I am not sure what will happen if he does.
Instead we lay there, having all the space we need in his king sized bed, but laying close like it’s a twin, not touching, the chemistry between us snapping and popping like lit kindling and that is why he won’t touch me. Because if he does this, all of this we have not yet resolved, will ignite this bed and consume us both.
And we’re being careful.
I am fully clothed, as is he, but I feel naked and bare under his gaze. He won’t break his stare. I blink rapidly, uncomfortable and uneasy, but unable to stop watching him watch me. How he sees me, who I am in his eyes, is intoxicating and I want to stare at this reflection of myself I so seldom pay attention to. This me I am with him, this energy that exists between us, I want to wear like skin when I leave here.
But I can’t, of course. This too, I will have to leave behind when I exit.
We talk as easily as we always did, laughter giving way to serious conversation and confession. We talk so long my voice is low and ragged around the edges, sounding whiskey soaked and melancholy. I can see the outline of his face in the dark, thin wisps of his smile illuminated by shards of moonlight as his own voice descends down the scale of tenor notes with every minute that passes by.
So many minutes have escaped us.
We talk until there is nothing left to say, the silence stretching between us not a wall but a binding, a tie we cannot bear to sever yet, though we know we must, soon. We lie that way for what seems like forever, in silence, pretending there is no world outside this room that we will soon have to report to. The irony of course being that I am not the one he will soon ask to pledge forever to.
“Give me this,” he says, reaching for my hand, and I gasp a little when he touches my skin. It is at once so familiar, so comforting, and then all so bittersweet. I smile at it all, getting better at this every time it happens.
He snakes my hand under his shirt, resting it on his bare chest, and I can feel his heartbeat drumming an even rhythm, complimenting the tempo of my pulse in my palm. We lie that way, saying nothing, feeling everything, with both his hands pressing mine firmly into the skin above his heart, a place he, we, once hoped I would come to inhabit.